It’s Hard To Say Goodbye: Atlanta 2020 season came to an end close loss to Washington

Photo Screenshot @AtlantaDream Twitter

After being eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday. The Atlanta Dream 2020 season came to an end last night with a  78-85 loss to Washington.

Betnijah Laney who the Dream signed in June, had an incredible season and is a favorite for the WNBA Most Improved Player award closed out her season with 27 points. Laney recorded her 19 double-figure scoring games, and her seventh 20-point game of the 2020 season. 

“I think we had a lot of positives. Starting off people didn’t think that we would have been in the position that we were in. Regardless of the obstacles that we faced, we continued to fight, we continued to get better as a team, building our chemistry and everything. Even though we didn’t end the way we would have wanted to, I think just the fact that we were fighting for a playoff spot just a few days ago really says a lot about our team. Numerous amount of games, we were right there. As long as we just take this momentum into next year and continue to grow, continue to build, I think we’ll be alright.” said Laney on her positives from this season.

Rookie Chennedy “Hollywood “Carter, who missed six games due to an ankle injury, wrapped up the last game of her first season with 26 points. Carter has scored in double-figures 13 times this season. This outing marked her sixth 20-point game. 

Preseason pickup Courtney Williams was late due to a COVID-19 diagnosis but did not disappoint leading all WNBA guards in rebounding this season, averaging 14.6 ppg and 7.2 rpg. Williams added 11 rebounds last night, marking her fifth double-figure rebounding game this year. 

A tearful eyed, Coach Nicki spoke to the media in a post game presser on the growth of the team while in the bubble and their resilience.

“I’ll tell you a little bit of what I just told them. I just think the odds were stacked against this team and they could have quit a long time ago. You don’t have two players opt out by choice coming into this. Then three players get COVID and show up late. Have your point guard, who’s got a Rookie of the Year campaign going, have an injury. It wasn’t easy. I just thought that they just kept working. It started kind of with leadership from Blake [Dietrick] and Elizabeth [Williams]. They came to work every day. They weren’t always perfect, but I think that we just got better. I wish that we had of been playing for something today. I think the outcome would have been differently if that was the game to dictate who was going to the playoffs instead of us being spoiler. I don’t think there were a lot of teams that wanted to play us down the stretch. Betnijah [Laney] certainly showed out today. Chennedy [Carter] showed what she was capable of. Our games were practices. I just think each game we got a little better at one thing. We weren’t always good, but we were able to then take tape and certainly never transfer it to actual practice courts because that didn’t exist here. We certainly transferred the lessons we learned in one game and tried to get a little bit better in the next. I’m just incredibly proud of this group and how they kept fighting. When their backs were against the wall, they kept getting better. They kept believing in one another. Would have liked to gone out with a win, one way or the other, but proud of how we came along.”

Final Thoughts: With Covid-19 pandemic, protests for social injustice and systemic racism, not to mention only having two returning Dream players (Elizabeth Williams and Monique Billings) to the team equals a “Heck of a year.”  However in the end four of their final six games, Atlanta won and finished up the season as resilient team which was remarkable. I can’t wait to see Coach Nicki and her Dream team return home in 2021 to Gateway Center Arena in College Park for their long-awaited debut on Atlanta’s Southside, the team will be force to be reckoned with.